REUTERS/Helmiy al-Azawi (IRAQ)
It only took three years
Al-Qaida in Iraq's al-Zarqawi 'terminated'
Terror group confirms death, vows to continue ‘holy war’
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and beheadings of hostages, has been killed in a precision airstrike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. It was a long-sought victory in the war in Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi and seven aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles northeast of Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said.
“Al-Zarqawi was eliminated,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.
At the White House, President Bush hailed the killing as “a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror.”
But he cautioned: “We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continuing patience of the American people.”
ID via fingerprints
Al-Qaida in Iraq confirmed al-Zarqawi’s death and vowed to continue its “holy war,” according to a statement posted on a Web site.
“We want to give you the joyous news of the martyrdom of the mujahed sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“The death of our leaders is life for us. It will only increase our persistence in continuing holy war so that the word of God will be supreme.”
Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said the hunt for al-Zarqawi began two weeks ago, and his body was identified by fingerprints and facial recognition.
Casey said an American airstrike targeted “an identified, isolated safe house.”
He said tips and intelligence from senior leaders of al-Zarqawi’s network led U.S. forces to al-Zarqawi as he was meeting with some of his associates. Casey also said Iraqi police were first on the scene after the airstrike.
One, we aren't fighting Lex Luthor. His deputy will take his place and the war will continue, worse than ever. We've crossed a corner into secterian violence, and despite the hype from Bush, Zarqawi was a minor player in the resistance and more showy than effective.
The real resistance is Iraqi, deeply entrenched and professional.It doesn't show itself on TV, care about Osama or talk much. It just kills anyone who cooperates with the US, from aid workers to french fry delivery guys.
All it means is that we'll be facing the Zarqawi martyr brigades.
If you read Juan Cole today, you'll find out that the Zarqawi people weren't all that popular with the Iraqis, because of their reckless car bombing.
Two: The media will play this up as a victory for a few days, but within a month, Bush will; be cursing the US Air Force. Zarqawi was the last figleaf to hide the reality of Iraq, which is that we're fighting Iraqis, not al Qaeda, not Saddam loyalists.
When the war doesn't calm down, and the death squad activity means anything but, what will the Administration say then? Who will be the new boogie man? George Bush may see this as a break.
He won't for long
posted by Steve @ 9:24:00 AM